Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) released figures on 10 November 2013, showing the tourism industry in Qatar continues its upward trajectory. The data was released in QTA’s third quarter (July – September) 2013 report, comparing performance to the same quarter of 2012.

All key indicators of the tourism sector demonstrated improvement and growth from the previous year comparable period:

The average hotel occupancy rate rose from 50% to 57% despite the industry adding over 600 rooms, growing inventory by 4.73%. These jumps meant that Total Revenue amongst 4 and 5-Star Hotels increased by QR85.3 million, reaching a total of QR703.1 million for the quarter. This 13.81% increase over previous year, despite being the lower summer season, sees strong demand, with an equivalent 19% increase in Rooms Revenue.

  • 4 and 5-Star hotels make up 11,717 of Qatar’s 13,551 rooms, with calls for more economy and budget hotels from consumers.
  • Regional visitors increased by 20%, with the greatest increases from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, and UAE and Oman remaining static.
  • Tourists coming from other continents rose by 13.36%, with arrivals from Asia showed the biggest increases at 18.27%.

QTA Statistics now incorporates wider field of data, which it is hoped provides greater guidance to the industry. The data is based on hotel submissions to QTA, and assists in assessing trends and underlying opportunities. Amongst the highlights:

  • Despite the increase in room inventory the average room rate per available room per day for both 4 & 5 Star hotels increased by 8.82% from previous year, rising from QR 293 to QR 319.
  • Contrary to industry opinion that predicted falls in revenues due to rapid room inventory increases, Average Total Revenue per available room per day grew by 4.41% over Q3 2012.
  • This indicates the sector is still facing robust demand and the 4th Quarter in 2013 is likely to show strong growth.

Driving the tourism sector was increased exposure to the global economy, assisted by the influx of companies and businesses supporting Qatar’s infrastructure development.

A diverse range of events and activities in Qatar, and increased regional and international presence during the third quarter of 2013 also pushed growth in the leisure sector. These include the Eid Festival 2013, as well as performances of Cirque du Soleil at the Aspire Dome.

Over Q3 Qatar Tourism Authority had a number of key achievements:

  • The Eid Al Adha Festival in October built on the success of the earlier Eid Al Fitr Festival, aimed at promoting Qatar as a family tourist destination regionally.
  • In September, QTA announced the official opening of its French representative office in Paris, the second representative office in Europe.
  • QTA also joined the world in celebrating World Tourism Day on the 27 September, organising a local photography competition to raise awareness of the importance of tourism to Qatar’s economy and the local community.
  • QTA led Qatar’s delegation at ITB Asia in Singapore, the largest travel show in Asia. QTA utilised the occasion to hold buyers meetings and interact with counterparts in the Asian tourism industry, setting the stage for increased tourist growth from the region.

The scene is set for continued growth, as new infrastructure readies to accelerate the growth of the sector. Doha Exhibition and Conference Center is under construction and Hamad International Airport is set for an early 2014 opening. QTA is readying the launch of a new phase in Qatar’s tourism industry with the release of the National Tourism Strategy, later this month, which will serve as the road map for the sector’s development in the coming years. QTA has a key role to play in coordinating the development of a sustainable tourism sector in Qatar, and growing tourism’s contribution to a diversified national economy.